But if you were just using the Pixel Buds 2 without listening to anything else, most people would be quite pleased with the sound. Google took note of these criticisms and went to work fine-tuning the Pixel Buds 2 profile, which now produces rich and warm sound. Nonetheless, I wore them for about two hours daily and my ears didn’t feel fatigued. Keep in mind this was with the buds at max volume and me sitting in a completely silent living room. Technically, you can use these for listening to music in a hot tub or sweaty workouts, though I wouldn’t advise either. The Pixel Buds 2’s magnificent Google integration expands functionality across the board, presenting users with numerous ways to engage with the earbuds and perform hands-free tasks with ease. The audio on the first-gen Pixel Buds was nothing to rave about. Google refined the Pixel Buds 2 design, keeping the distinctive circular form and implementing small touch-ups to achieve a low-profile appearance. No voice call enhancement. Removing both buds paused music, but that same accuracy wasn’t shown when placing them back on. You can also use one bud independently of the other (if you want to go the single-bud route for calls). Google needed some good hardware news right about now, and that news comes in the form of Pixel Buds 2: a solid, competitive option for everyday earbuds in the year 2020. It’s longer and thinner, so it easily slides into your ears. The digital assistant performs exceptionally well, thanks to its stellar speech recognition and smart integration. You can’t review the Pixel Buds 2, without reviewing the unique features the Pixel Buds 2 have to offer to Android users. However, all isn’t perfect, as weak battery life and call quality keep them from achieving their full potential. Using the Pixel Buds 2 with iOS devices strips you of features, and pairing is an irksome task that requires going through the Bluetooth settings and holding down the button on the back the charging case. The AirPods Pro sound slightly more open but the Pixel Buds 2 are a little more detailed. There was latency every time and it took a second or two for the right earbud to play music. While the original Pixel Buds had an open design like the standard AirPods, these have a noise-isolating design, which means the ear tips get jammed into your ears, sealing them off to the outside world. Otherwise, you’ll find more performance from lower-priced options like the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus or class leaders like the AirPods Pro and Jabra Elite Active 75t. I didn't see a transparency mode, but there's some venting in the earbuds that keeps you from feeling too occluded and allows you to hear your voice in the buds when you're making a phone call (Google calls it a "spatial vent for in-ear pressure reduction and spatial awareness.") For some reason, every call I answered sounded incredibly low, and a few of my friends could barely hear me. With a little clockwise turn the buds (5.3 grams or 0.19 ounces each) twist securely in place, barely sticking out from my ears. Yes, the wearable Mentos look has returned, but I like the way the stabilizing fin -- Google calls it an "arc" -- has been integrated into the design. You won’t be able to use Siri. And, of course, Google Assistant is at the helm for hands-free engagement to carry out an endless number of tasks via voice commands. I put the volume pretty far up on a set of small speakers and callers were impressed by how little noise they heard around me, though some leaked in when I talked. It works well minus some grammatical errors, but with more than 40 languages available, it’s a service feature you’ll be grateful to have when traveling internationally. The Pixel Buds, which debuted in 2017, had a deep cord between them and earned mixed reviews thanks to their loopy Mentos-esque design and also middling sound. Bundled with the Pixel Buds 2 are a wireless charging case, USB-C to USB-A charging cable, three sets of ear tips, and a Quick Start guide. It’s also cool that you can link Google Assistant to other music platforms like Google Play, Pandora, Deezer, and more. In the end, Google finally has a set of wireless earbuds that are worthy contenders. The bass levels won’t raise the hair on your arms and are more powerful on the AirPods Pro, but it’s acceptable here. After making its debut in the original Pixel Buds, the Google Translate feature returns with the Pixel Buds 2. Hands-free Assistant and Translate feature, Nice charging case with wireless and USB-C charging, No active noise-canceling or transparency, Extra features don't work with iOS devices, Discuss: OK, Google: Pixel Buds 2 are the real deal, new audio systems-on-a-chip from Qualcomm, Best wireless earbuds and Bluetooth headphones for phone calls. Aside from their improved design and fit over the original Pixel Buds, a few things stand out. There are also options to manage spoken notifications and push firmware updates. If only the buds could connect to two devices simultaneously. You can tell Google took inspiration from classic handheld gadgets – it almost resembles a Tamagotchi. The new Google Pixel Buds are outstanding wireless earbuds and finally offer an Apple AirPods alternative for Android users that Google can be proud of. Google says that "two beamforming mics focus on your voice, while voice accelerometers detect jaw movement to know when you're talking." In short, lower tones and bass response sounded muddy. Pretty cool. skip a track instead of playing the previous one), then it was odd stuff like playing music without sound; this occurred a few times when pressing play on Spotify directly through my phone. Thank you for signing up to Tom's Guide. After underwhelming with its original Pixel Buds, Google's new true wireless earbuds stack up well against the competition, with a comfortable fit and strong performance. On-ear detection was also 50/50. I did notice a slight increase in sound when hearing music in my rowdy living room with the TV on and my fiancée on a conference call. I performed a few sets of ab crunches and planks to test stability and they remained in placed the entire time. When Google unveiled its new true wireless Pixel Buds 2 in October, they seemed like a big upgrade over the original models revealed in the review. Call quality continues to suffer, and the controls can be wonky at times, too. Weight: 0.18 ounces (per bud), 2.3 ounces (charging case) IPX4 certification was also added for water and sweat resistance, the same rating used on the AirPods Pro. The materials are durable, so there’s little worry of breaking the buds or charging case right out of the box. The Pixel Buds 2 are right there with the best earbuds for making calls. For sound, these don't rise to the level of the top sounding true wireless earbuds, which include the Sony WF-1000XM3 and Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2. Why is Google Pixel Buds 2 better than the average? I didn't see any way to adjust the bass and treble levels in the settings on the Pixel 4 or in the Android app. Please refresh the page and try again. Dual IR proximity sensors detect when the buds are in your ears and automatically pause your music when you pull one out of your ear and resume when you put it back in. There was a problem. If you’re an Android user you’ve used Google Assistant before and may or may not enjoyed using it. While I thought the Pixel Buds 2's sound quality was quite good -- more on that in a minute -- they performed really well as a headset for making calls. I did find those two models slightly more comfortable to wear over longer listening sessions and how you ultimately feel about the fit will depend on the shape of your ear. I ran with them without a problem and I thought the touch controls were responsive and worked very well. We check over 130 million products every day for the best prices, Google Pixel Buds 2 (left); Apple AirPods Pro (right), Apple offering free iPhone 11 repairs for screen problem — what you need to know, House of the Dragon: HBO release date, cast and more for the Game of Thrones prequel, Cobra Kai season 3 release date, trailer, spoilers, cast and more, Where to buy Xbox Series X — restock update for Walmart, Best Buy and more, Forget HomePod mini — Apple Music works on Google Nest speakers now. Google is taking a truly wireless swing at bat with the new Pixel Buds 2. As much as I appreciate Google programming the Pixel Buds 2 with super-quick charging to power the buds for 2 hours on a 10-minute charge, you’re still going to have to carry around your charging cable and charging case if you want these buds to last throughout the day. For instance, you can check the battery levels of each bud on the home screen and refamiliarize yourself with the controls, but you can’t personalize them. Speaking of which, the charging case is one of the Pixel Buds 2’s biggest perks. It's not a full-on sidetone feature, though; I'd call it sidetone lite. These have "custom-designed" 12mm dynamic drivers, and, as I said, they sound very good for true wireless, with well-defined bass and good clarity. I'm currently not in New York, where I usually test out call quality, but I made some calls and played New York City street noise (via YouTube) in the background as I conversed. Other colors — Almost Black, Quite Mint and Oh So Orange — are set for release in the coming months. You will receive a verification email shortly. The charging case provides up to 24 hours of additional battery life for listening to music and about 12 hours for making phone calls. The buds sit flush against the ear and are concealed to the point that they’re almost unnoticeable; you probably wouldn’t see the buds on someone’s ears if you were standing a few feet in front of them. The touchpads on the front are responsive to taps and the slide gestures are even more accurate. Besides going completely cordless, the Pixel Buds 2 has built-in fins atop both buds that mold perfectly to the inside of your ears. Your phone then translates and reads out loud what you said into your selected language. Read more: Best wireless earbuds and Bluetooth headphones for phone calls. A swipe feature allows you to control volume from the buds themselves. You tap and hold either earbud and start speaking in the language listed under the headset icon. More melodic selections like Duke Ellington’s “Mood Indigo” were intimate listening affairs that revealed subtle nuances in the recordings; it’s surprising to hear how clear and prominent the trombone sounds alongside the horns and piano keys. Leading the way is Conversation mode, which enacts real-time translations to better communicate with foreigners (or locals, if you’re the foreigner). It's compact, feels solid in your hand and has a smooth matte finish. Discussion threads can be closed at any time at our discretion. The Google Pixel Buds 2 have a battery that will last up to 5 hours while listening to music or 2.5 hours while making calls. Asking the buds, “Hey Google, help me speak Italian,” or any other language, will launch Google Translate and convert whatever you say to that set language. The Google Pixel Buds 2 are a prosperous return to the audio space for Google and some of the best wireless earbuds available. Google Assistant for headphones isn’t anything new, and there aren’t any new features in that experience on Pixel Buds either. And Pocketnow wraps up his video by stating “if you are an Android user in particular and you want a good way to get started in true wireless audio, the Pixel Buds … The only difference is these buds support on-ear detection to automatically pause music when you take them out of your ears. It worked quite well with the Google Pixel 4 XL I was using for this review, with Google Assistant responding quickly to my voice commands. We delete comments that violate our policy, which we encourage you to read. CNET may get a commission from these offers. The Google Pixel Buds 2 are a prosperous return to the audio space for Google and some of the best wireless earbuds available. I streamed music successfully around my apartment with my Google Pixel 2XL charging in the bedroom; the buds maintained a strong Bluetooth range of about 35 feet before dropout occurred. No customizable EQ or music presets. There's a pairing button on the case, as there is with the AirPods. The Google Pixel Buds 2 cost $179 and are available in one color at the moment: White. The sound from Momentum True Wireless 2 just feels bigger and more immersive. For example, listening to Red Hearse's self-titled track with the Sennheiser, the bass goes deeper and there's a little more sparkle in the treble. Verdict. Not really, but it was sufficient enough to block out distractions and hear music uninterrupted. As I said, there's no noise-canceling. Again, this is an Android-only feature. It’s compatible with Qi-enabled charging pads, so you can charge it without any pesky wires in the way. Going outside wasn’t an issue either, as I felt confident the buds wouldn’t fall out when wearing my mask, and they didn’t. The Mentos-shaped buds don't stick out from your ears too far. NY 10036. According to Google, “because the two earbuds serve different functions at different times to maximize battery, one earbud may consume more battery than the other.”. That’s really about it. But if you want the creme de la creme, the AirPods Pro is the way to go. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Also, the aesthetic upgrades and improvements in sound and features give these buds enough firepower to battle the AirPods Pro. 5 vs 4.53; Driver unit size? These buds boast a sleeker design, sound better, feel extremely comfortable, and have plenty of intuitive features that give the Apple AirPods a run for their money. Instead, there's an adaptive sound mode that automatically adjusts the volume to the environment you're in. The Galaxy Buds Plus can deliver up to 11 hours at moderate volume levels. The original Pixel Buds weren’t comfortable and had a tendency to slip out of my ears. Google gives you a long USB-C charging cable and three set of ear tips, which seems a bit stingy for $179. Deal: Sennheiser's Momentum True Wireless earbuds are 75% off; Sennheiser's PXC 550-II noise-cancelling headphones … Once linking the buds to my Spotify account, I asked to play my Black Thought Essential Playlist, and granted, it interpreted the request as “Play Black. Leaving them in your pockets with sharp objects like keys will scratch the hell out of these things. Having the latter available is pretty sweet, especially if you’re a klutz like me who commonly misplaces their buds around the house. Also, it’s annoying that you have to remove both earbuds to perform this task. You just tell Google Assistant to help you speak whatever language you want, with more than 40 languages supported. 19h vs 18.29h; Weight? The noise reduction is quite effective. Like its predecessor, the Pixel Buds 2 incorporate touch and slide gestures to manage playback and calls. There is an endless number of features to go through that I’m still testing, but so far, so good. If it wasn’t the buds misinterpreting tap gestures (e.g. It was the more complex commands that demonstrated Google Assistant’s greatness on the Pixel Buds 2. Build quality is on point, with Google using solid matte plastic to create a sturdy, aesthetically pleasing product. Enabling it will show the buds’ current location, or if nearby, you can enable the ring function on either bud, which produces a loud ringing noise to help find them quickly. Deep Google integration and improvements in design and sound make the Google Pixel Buds 2 the company’s most inviting earbuds yet. While rated at 5 hours, a full charge really gets you about 4.5 hours, the same as the AirPods Pro with active noise cancellation on. I couldn't help but be disappointed with the Pixel Buds 2’s battery life. They're a little more expensive than the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus, which are probably the better value -- they get discounted $10 or $20 on occasion -- but the Pixel Buds 2 are a solid all-around package with some distinguishing features and excellent call quality. Was it a tremendous boost? The Pixel Buds 2 has other Google-friendly features available to create a more seamless user experience. The silicone tips created a tight seal that locked the buds in place. And it's also worth noting that I paired the buds to multiple devices, but I had to manually select the previous device from its Bluetooth menu if I wanted to go back to it. It took several tries before the laptop recognized the buds. Google says more features are on the way, including an update to Find My Earbuds that shows the last known location of your buds, so that shows the company has more in store for the Pixel Buds 2. The packaging for the Pixel Buds — which are technically the Pixel Buds 2, but I’ll use Google’s official name for them throughout this review — is tiny, white, and adorned with different images of the buds themselves. These are also the first Google Assistant "hotword-enabled" earbuds. However, you can use Google Assistant, but need to download the Google Assistant app from the App Store. Colors: White, Almost Black, Quite Mint, Oh So Orange The Pixel Buds, which debuted in 2017, had a cord between them and earned decidedly mixed reviews thanks to their loopy Mentos-esque design and middling sound. The controls were disabled as well. Google says the Pixel Buds 2 will store pairings with up to six devices. With new audio systems-on-a-chip from Qualcomm, hands-free access to virtual assistants will come to more true wireless earbuds later this year, but for now it's pretty unusual. The Google Pixel Buds 2 offer style, durability and great audio in an inexpensive, streamlined package. The Pixel Buds will come in four color options, but at launch, only white will be available. 12mm vs 8.79mm; Battery life of charging case? The discharge times between the buds are also off with the right earbud consuming more energy than the left. Overall, the controls are a mixed bag of mildly erratic and swift-acting performance. Clarity and volume are the two biggest culprits here. I tested the Pixel Buds 2 across several genres, from hip-hop to rock to Jazz. The “Hey, Google” feature, which is basically Google’s answer to Apple’s “Hey Siri” is such a joy to use and operates flawlessly. Find My Device is the other key feature you won’t take for granted. When Google unveiled its new true wireless Pixel Buds 2 ($179) last October, they seemed like a big upgrade over the original models. essential playlist,” but the AI was smart enough to complete the intended task. When Google unveiled its new true wireless Pixel Buds 2 ($179) last October, they seemed like a big upgrade over the original models. Being able to immediately pair to Android device by flipping open the case is super convenient, while having Google Assistant available at all times is amazing. The setup is instantaneous, as popping open the charging case enables Google’s Fast Pair technology and lets you automatically pair to Android devices. The Pixel Buds 2 proved it could handle mids and highs, reproducing the song’s a cappellas and head-banging guitar riffs superbly. Not to mention, the nylon cable that also doubled as an adjustment system to establish a proper on-ear fit was more of an annoyance than a benefit. Enabled features and heavy streaming factor into playtime, too. 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